Although I had always wanted to ride, I was 51 years old before I actually had my first lesson and, of course, I was hooked. That was in 1997.

The following year, my husband bought me my wonderful 17.2hh skewbald called Tryfan (named after a mountain in Wales) and I began the adventure of owning a horse.

To say that it has had its high and lows would be an understatement.

When I arrived at Ladysmith Equestrian, near Chiseldon, it was to be the fifth yard we had been on.

I had learnt something new from each livery, and every time I changed it was because I felt it was better for both Tryfan and I.

However, little did I know that the decision to join Rosemary Collins' livery on a dull day in February, four years ago, was to be the best decision I had made since owning Tryfan - and I was about to join what was for me the very best yard I had been on.

Tryfan settled very well on the yard and it seemed as if he had always been there. He had had some sad times before I bought him, and had issues with water and any movement near his head and ears.

Jenny Hall vetted him for me and said that with some tender loving care he would be perfect. For the first year, Tryfan was on full livery, and because of my personal circumstances, time restraints where an issue.

So it was great to know that he was happy and being well looked after, as my time was restricted. Looking back, I don't think that I rode more than six times that first year.

My life settled and time restraints eased, and I began to have lessons with Rosemary.

As I have always been a nervous rider, lacking confidence in my own abilities, the first lesson was spent hanging on to the reins and curled up in a ball. But my lesson awoke all the passion to be able to ride competently.

That lesson was to be the turning point for me, and I began a real love affair with riding. I went on to have lessons regularly, through all the seasons.

The thoughts of my lessons with Rosemary got me out of bed on even the coldest of Saturday mornings.

Rosemary has not only taught me to ride. She has gently encouraged me to become a rider and owner, explaining things to me as we progressed through all the disciplines - standing in the school in rain and wind, gently cajoling me with her calm tones and gentle ways that even the horses respond to.

Last year we had a competition on the yard - just a small, friendly affair - and thanks to the help and encouragement, I have been given both in caring for and riding Tryfan, I entered.

Along with all the other people that Rosemary teaches, we had a great day, and although I did get a rosette, for me it was about having the confidence to go in the school and carry out a dressage test with other people present.

There have been two very significant people in my adventure with horses: Jenny Hall whose comments at the vetting proved absolutely right and Rosemary Collins whose help and encouragement with both riding and caring for Tryfan has been such an inspiration to me, and helped me become a competent rider and owner.

We have a wonderful new school at Ladysmith with an amazing surface and full lights, so we ride in winter months when hacking can been restricted.

Rosemary was sitting on the fence of the school on New Year's Eve and Tryfan and I walked over to speak to her - and as we chatted Rosemary was stroking Tryfan's head and ears. And to me, that says it all.